You and I need to aim our protective gear and weapons against the enemy’s plan for our lives, so we don’t one day become the perpetrator of this crime of lying, cheating and hurting those we love.
Before I go further, I want to discuss a principle from James 1:15. The translation will differ, but the principle is the same. The King James Bible states, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
The main thought here is the principle of the seed. Lust is a seed because it produces fruit. Seeds are the only things that can produce a fruit. Seeds can only produce the fruit of their DNA. For example, a tomato seed doesn’t produce pumpkins; it can only produce tomatoes. The DNA of a seed is powerful and with proper nourishment will be unstoppable in becoming what it is determined it shall be.
Now let’s go back to Adam’s creation for a moment. From what was Adam created? That’s right, dust or dirt. All of us menfolk are fancy dirt. Dirt is where seeds are planted. Lust is a seed; it’s a seed with a known DNA and ultimately can create death in a man’s life. The first stage of sin is lust, which can be described as those long looks, double-takes, rubbernecking, and over-evaluating when a woman is in your field of vision.
Women are three-dimensional creatures with spirits, souls and bodies, with relationships, responsibilities and dreams for their lives. When we lust, we remove all these other aspects of their beings and just look at their packaging, or their bodies. We objectify, or make them things, instead of souls or people. In lust, we devalue the amazing soul that a woman is and make her into a lust hit—entertainment that we scan into our brains.
Lust is absolutely wrong. Who says so? God does. In Exodus 20:17, otherwise known as the Tenth Commandment, God clearly states, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
It’s clear we are not to lust after our neighbors’ wives. You might think, Great! My five neighbors are not attractive to me, so no problem. But when Jesus was asked who our neighbors are, He responded and made it pretty clear that everyone is our neighbor (Luke 10).
That means that we are not to lust after any woman on Planet Earth. Paul said to treat “older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Tim. 5:2). Why sisters? Because that puts a relationship context around each person. Most of us would not lust after our own physical sister regardless of her level of attractiveness, because, of course, she is our sister. In the absence of the option to lust, we see her as a whole person with feelings, a history, relationships and value, not as an object.
Lust, if it is not destroyed at this level, can and will grow. And if it is watered repeatedly with more lust, fantasy and pornography, lust will continue to grow and become stronger. If you masturbate to lust-inducing pictures, it’s like feeding super-fertilizer to the seed, or genetically engineering it. If you lust after the same person repeatedly, you are in real danger of creating a situation where you will be drawn toward her. You are reinforcing that situation with your lust, as Joe did with blond employees. Because he lusted after blond women when he masturbated, this specific targeting led Joe to be attracted to the blond employee who eventually sued him.
The second stage of the seed of lust is sin. The sin can start off small, like inappropriate humor, jokes, asking about a woman’s marriage or telling her how bad your marriage is, a hug, a longer hug, private meetings and then kissing, sex and ongoing sex. Sin is the evidence that you have fertilized lust over time. Since sin is the next growth stage of lust, it doesn’t just happen; there is always a process of nurturing the seed of lust.
You can repent of sin, be forgiven and once again grow spiritually, although there may be consequences of sin that continue for quite some time. If a man chooses not to repent, however, he is guaranteed only one future, and that is the fruit of lust and sin: death.
A man may lust for years, never thinking he will sin. I have heard hundreds of times from men, Christian men, who thought they would never cross the line. They didn’t understand that feeding lust guarantees the seed will grow into its next stage. Whether a man is saved or not, that’s the principle of the seed.
Sin can also be fertilized. By repeating the porn, masturbation, secret sexual chatting, texting or cheating, you fertilize lust and sin. This reinforcement promotes the growth of this sin in your life, making lust and sin stronger and stronger over the years or decades. Sin, like a plant that has sprung up from the ground, definitely grows in a particular season (Heb. 11:25). Season is an interesting term to use because it is a period of time with a beginning and an end. A man in the season of sin often believes he will never get caught; he thinks he is smarter than those other guys. This man is deceived, because there is absolutely no such thing as a secret; there is just a season of secrets. Countless men learn this the hard way. If a man doesn’t humble himself before God and others during this season of sin, he will be faced with the seed of lust reaching its final fruit: death. This harvest season of death has its own distinct beginning. It starts with the humiliation of getting exposed or caught.
As I began to describe earlier, I can’t tell you the countless ways God has contrived his sons-in-law into getting caught. It’s the guy who makes a phone call to a prostitute and somehow his wife is accidently conferenced in on the call. It’s the voicemail, text, or email that is found. It’s the call from the husband of the other woman, who has repented in her season of sin. It’s the accidental Facebook post that a friend or relative came across that shows you and the blond woman together. It’s the wife showing up to surprise you at your hotel during a “business trip” and walking in on you unexpectedly. God is creative and specific when the season of death starts.
In the beginning of the season of death, a man can still repent. Sometimes there is restoration, and sometimes there is death. Death can have many faces, such as not seeing your grandchildren because your children don’t want to be around you. Death can include not being able to walk your daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, no longer being called Dad, your calls not being returned, a photograph from your ex-wife’s wedding to her new husband, the children calling her new husband Dad, the cost of a career or license, public humiliation in a newspaper or broadcast, living alone and going further into your sin or adding other addictions—even facing jail time for child porn on your computer. Death has many faces, but death hurts everyone you love. Those you love are forced to deal with you now being a perpetrator of pain instead of their protector.
The preceding is an excerpt from Dr. Doug Weiss’ book Clean, used with permission from Thomas Nelson Inc. A leading expert in sexual addiction recovery, Dr. Weiss is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart-to-Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the president of the American association for Sex Addiction Therapy (AASAT). He is the author of more than 20 books on marriage, men’s issues, addiction recovery and self-help, including The Final Freedom; Sex, God and Men; Intimacy; and his latest, Clean: A Proven Plan For Men Committed To Sexual Integrity.
For more information, visit www.thecleanbook.com or www.thomasnelson.com.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. Join us for giveaways each weekday, pages from our past, and more. We're including an anniversary special where you can get 40 issues of Charisma for only $40!